A decade ago, your children were probably around the age of 8. Perhaps they were sitting in a classroom, studying for a test. Running around gym class, or maybe even playing hooky. You were probably at work or home taking care of younger children.
I was in Science. We were learning how to figure out the possibility of our kids having blue eyes. The phone rang in midsentence and everyone starred at the teacher. Most of us were anxiously waiting to see who was getting called to this principles office this time.
Her eyes got really big and her face was pale. I automatically knew the call wasn’t for me; I hadn’t done anything that extreme in a while. Then she turned the TV on.
We all turned around in our seats to see what was so important that we actually were able to watch television instead of some boring science documentary. I can speak for everybody when I say we all wished it were that instead, even that one movie/cartoon about germs that no one could bare to watch more than once.
I remember observing everyone around me. People stood out of the chairs like they were about to see their favorite player shoot the winning basket. Girls covered their open mouths that were completely speechless.
Then it fell. The tower went straight to the ground. I had never seen anything like it in my life. Every floor one by one until the only thing left in the sky was a huge cloud of smoke. We were being attacked.
A Decade Later
It was almost 2 a.m. when the phone rang. I answered it thinking I was still dreaming until I heard his voice on the other end of the line.
It was his voice, but it was a tone I have never heard before. He was crying. My heart sank. I didn’t want to know, but I didn’t have to ask.
He said, “I don’t know if he is going to make it. It’s McDaniel, I don’t know what I will do if he doesn’t make it.”
McDaniel stepped on an Improvised Explosive Device that day. When it blew up, so did he. My husband got all the shrapnel that was left from the blast. The Marines worked quickly to put tourniquets on McDaniel’s limbs while Josh called in a casualty evacuation. Both of them were taken by helicopter to the nearest medical facility when they were split up.
McDaniel, who was only 24, lost both of his legs and arm. He was lucky. Luckier than Cpl. Villarreal at least, who also stepped on an IED a few weeks later.
If you watched the video, Cpl. Villarreal was the Marine leaning on the edge, holding the American flag. Cpl. Villarreal completed his final mission on October 17th while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was killed by a roadside bomb while he was on a foot patrol. He was only 22 years old.
Today, your recruits are in good hands. They are in the hands of men who believe in the same freedoms and rights as yourself. They are in the hands of men who have been there and done that. These men have seen things you could never imagine. No horror movie could ever portray the fear they have felt. No smell can ever compare to the smell of the rounds they have shot, and no feeling is more powerful to them than defeating the enemy.
Where were you on September 11th? Better yet, where are you now? Are you living everyday as you did back then? Enjoying your freedoms and rights, as Americans should? You bet you are. And when November 18th rolls around, you can thank your son for becoming part of the next generation that will defend our freedom until the end.
Take the time to recognize those who made the ultimate sacrifice, those who have died in the hands of our brothers.
Semper Fi Marines, you will never be forgotten.
Click here to read an article about a DI who witnessed the Twin Towers crash to the ground from his school window.
[Editors Note: Opinions expressed are not to be considered an official expression of the DoD, DoN, or the USMC.]